“I have been provided with a great feeling of inclusiveness, a new-found brotherhood and invigorated wellbeing. The event at St. James’s Palace far exceeded expectation. I met some truly inspirational people.”
– John, Army Veteran
The annual Not Forgotten Association Christmas Party at St. James’s Palace signals the start of the festive season. It almost feels as though the State Apartments’ opulent, red and gold setting was designed specifically for Christmas celebrations, as it never fails to put everyone is a mood of great cheer and merriment. Those who visit leave feeling joyful with lasting memories made of a wonderful and very special afternoon.
This year was no exception as nearly 300 guests were hosted by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, who took a considerable amount of time to meet and talk with many of those in attendance. Following the party, HRH wrote to the Association of how much she enjoyed the company of those she met. Music from the Band of the Irish Guards played as caricaturists sketched, silhouettists snipped, balloon artists modelled, magicians conjured, celebrities chatted and Mickie Driver and The Swingtime Sweethearts sang a selection of Christmas favourites. Following a three-course afternoon tea – complete with mulled wine – and the departure of HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, guests were treated to a variety show of music, dance and performance in the Picture Gallery. Notable acts this year were Britain’s Got Talent winner Lance Corporal Richard Jones, comedian Carl Schofield and the Froback Dance Group. A rousing sing-a-long ensured that everyone left the party in high spirits.
Commenting on the afternoon, Chief Executive James Stopford said “by kind permission of Her Majesty The Queen, The Not Forgotten Association are privileged to hold our annual Christmas Tea Party on behalf of the Armed Services and Merchant Navy. Nothing brings greater joy than seeing Service Charities, Regimental Associations and the wider service community coming together in celebration – an honour for us to provide.”